GCI Revs Up 1-Gig Service

Runs on Hitron’s Souped Up DOCSIS 3.0 Modem (Updated)
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GCI has booted up a residential 1-Gig broadband service in parts of  Anchorage that will run on DOCSIS 3.0 and require a Hitron-made modem that’s capable of bonding 32 downstream channels.

GCI’s new service called 1 GIG red, pumps out a max downstream of 1 Gbps. Pricing for the service and the capabilities of the tier’s upstream were not immediately known.

Update: GCI, an official said via email, is selling 1 GIG red for $174.99 per month, the same price as the MSO’s prior 250 Mbps service. The 1-Gig downstream is paired with an upstream that maxes at 50 Mbps, up from 10 Mbps with the prior red service ("red" is the brand assigned to GCI’s top Internet service tier. It also offers 100 Mbps, 50 Mbps and 10 Mbps services). 

The operator said it will make the new service available to “virtually all” of its cable subs in Anchorage by year-end. GCI serves about 100,000 homes in the city. 

It has not provided specific plans to offer 1-Gig to other markets other than to say that Juneau, Fairbanks and Mat-Su are among the markets in line, expecting to expand on rollouts in early 2016 . In the meantime, GCI said upgrades Mat-Su, Juneau, Fairbanks, Kenai/Soldotna, Sitka will enable downstream upgrades for the operator’s fastest tiers there – rising from 250 Mbps to 500 Mbps.

From a modem standpoint, GCI is following a similar game plan that’s being run by Suddenlink and Mediacomm Communications, which are also using the new Hitron D3.0 model (the CDA3-35) for their respective 1-Gig residential tiers. The GCI official noted that DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging multi-gigabit platform for HFC networks, "is the next step in meeting technology needs of the future and GCI is getting ready for it."

According to an FAQ, GCI’s 1 GIG red service will be subject to the MSO’s new “No  Worries” data usage policy, setting a monthly ceiling of 750 GB (up from 600 GB for the prior "red" tier.  Once customers on the 1-Gig plan exceed that limit, they can purchase addition buckets of data (30 GB) for $10 each, upgrade to a different plan, or be set at a “basic level of service” (less than 1 Mbps) with no overages.

“Today we’re proud to begin the launch of 1 GIG red in Anchorage while many major Lower 48 cities like Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington D.C. wait for comparable 1-gigabit service,” said GCI president and CEO Ron Duncan, in a statement. ““With 1 GIG red, we’re quadrupling Internet speeds for our red customers and propelling Alaska to the forefront of technology, all without any increase in our red customers’ bills.”

GCI is also delivering 1-Gig service (branded as “fiber re:D”)  in select areas of cities such as Anchorage and Juneau using fiber-to-the-premises technology.

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